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My first In Box: David Allen’s impact on our children

March 6th, 2004 · 1 Comment

David Allen showed me a new way to live today said Robert Scoble this week. The author of Getting Things Done has changed the lives of many others too, including Ted and me. David Allen has even impacted our children.

Three months ago I read Getting Things Done and I began implementing some of the suggestions, including using file folders to organize my ideas and thoughts, and putting an “In Box” on my desk. Now whenever Ted or the girls have something for me, I ask them to put it in my In Box.

The other day Michaela and Abigail were doing art projects on the table. The three-year-old took a piece of paper, folded up the edges on each side, and put many smaller colored squares inside it. She made two, one for her older sister also.

“Look Mom, Here’s our In Box” each girl said to me, carrying her creation.


I realized how they had absorbed the idea of In Box, simply from watching me, my box and my desk.

As a kid I was messy. The carpet in my room was covered with paper and clothes. Not to mention what lived under the bed. It wasn’t until I went to college and had to share a room with a stranger that I began to become more organized. It’s taken me years to figure out how to be efficient.

I’ve begun training my children in little ways. For example, they do have an Art Box, a plastic drawer, which functions like an In Box for them, holding papers and creations until once a month, when each girl and I go through and clean it out, sorting some masterpieces into the “Art Book” binder for keeping and others into the bin for recycling.

Although children, especially young ones, may not have a lot of tasks to accomplish, they can certainly learn to be tidy. And in our society now kids come home with homework beginning even in kindergarten. I was the kind of kid who lost permission slips and often crumpled important papers in my backpack. Or I’d be sloppy with my homework assignments; despite my best efforts, pages would get dogeared or crinkled, sometimes even getting bits of breakfast on them.

I imagine that there would be quite a market to help children as well as parents get things done. Some children are nearly as busy as their parents are. They live lives of little executives starting in elementary school.

Seeing my daughters’ own In Boxes sparked me to imagine how kids could begin to learn a little about Getting Things Done. Inspired by their creation, I dropped David Allen a note to let him know how great an effect he’d had on our family. I think there could be a number of applications made for younger users, parents and children, to create more freedom for family life. I know I now have more time and focus for my days spent with my daughters, rather than being distracted by overdue To-dos. The new efficiency has given me time and flexibility to fit other interests into my days, rather than being completely overwhelmed by simple survival.

So I enjoyed reading this week about Scoble’s joy and discovery of David Allen. Months later I’m still Getting Things Done although I’ve made a few modifications for myself, such as replacing two folders with spiral notebooks. It was John Porcaro , also at Microsoft, who motivated me in December to read the book that had somehow migrated from Ted’s desk to mine. He goes on the list of Bloggers Who Have Changed My Life.

On the top of that list, of course, would be Ted, who beat me to blogging about this topic last night, while I was catching up on other stuff. Getting Things Done has helped my husband and influenced OSAF : I’m looking forward to seeing how Chandler implements the principles and ideas.

If Scoble gets David Allen to start a blog, them I’m gonna have to go over to Redmond and buy the man a beer.

I hope David Allen gets a blog with RSS feed as Scoble has suggested. That would be great. And so I hope Ted has to go to Redmond and buy Scoble a beer. Maybe he’d buy me one too.;)

Tags: books

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Katherine // Mar 6, 2004 at 10:11 pm

    We have a tall stack of inboxes on our kitchen counter by the telephone: one for each person in the family, plus a paper recycling slot. It’s a very useful system.